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hidden history

The mystery of the historic bomb-making equipment found in a Dublin attic

Jorge Zulkouski found the items ten years ago and with the 1916 centenary coming up, he thought now was the time to try to find out more.

Michelle Hennessy / Michelle Hennessy / /

AN ARGENTINIAN MAN is on a mission to find out the origin of a number of military artefacts and an arsenal of bomb-making equipment found hidden in his Dublin home.

Jorge Zulkouski and his family moved into their house in Cabra in the early 90s and while doing work in the garden, he found an old khaki jacket buried under a dead tree.

Michelle Hennessy Michelle Hennessy

Inside the jacket was a bayonet and a small metal box containing trinkets like a small blade and a pipe.

When I found it, I thought somebody here was in the military, but the question was why was he hiding it?

Around three years later, the family was converting the attic and Zulkouski made another mysterious discovery. Concealed in the chimney were a number of small chemical bottles, measuring equipment, and military books.

Michelle Hennessy / Michelle Hennessy / /

At first I thought it was something to do with taking photographs, I thought those little tubes were rolls of film. I packed everything up in little bags and I showed a friend who is in the garda force. The first thing he said was: “This is bomb-making equipment” and I said “What?!”

Michelle Hennessy / Michelle Hennessy / /

The items remained boxed up in the attic of the Cabra home for more than ten years but when Zulkouski started to see news coverage of the 1916 centenary he thought it was time to try to find out something about them.

Historian Pat Liddy examined the collection of items, which he said appear to have belonged to a man who “considered himself a patriot”.

“The expression of this patriotism was, it would seem, to make explosives because some of the chemicals probably wouldn’t work today, but the names on the various boxes and bottles would seem to suggest a volatile mix of chemicals that would be used,” he told

IMG_0265 Historian Pat Liddy examines the bayonet Jorge found in his back garden. Michelle Hennessy / Michelle Hennessy / /

To further enhance that theory, we have a box of stuff to grind powder down and to measure it out carefully and tiny, tiny spoons and so forth to mix very volatile chemicals together without any danger.

“He sounds like both a careful man, in the way everything was stored and a careful man in the way he made everything. And there are a couple of different labels from different chemists so he probably wouldn’t buy everything in the one pharmacy so he wouldn’t raise suspicions.”

Michelle Hennessy / Michelle Hennessy / /

Based on some of the books and military Liddy said it is possible the man who hid them was initially a member of the British army in the First World War and later became an ardent nationalist.

Michelle Hennessy / Michelle Hennessy / /

He may have also joined the Free State army and Liddy said the collection of chemicals suggests he may have become disaffected by the way the country was going and joined the IRA’s bombing campaign in the 1940s.

Men with experience like this individual appears to have had would have been very valuable to the IRA at that time.

“There’s an extraordinary story emerging here of a mysterious man,” Liddy said.

These are all theories at the moment and we have to try and put some flesh on this fascinating discovery.

Michelle Hennessy / Michelle Hennessy / /

Zulkouski is now hoping to find out more about the mysterious man who hid bomb-making tools in his attic, with the help of military historians and the archives.

He would also like to find a home for the unique collection, where it can be displayed.

“I think it would be no use to me here at home. I always think history has to be put on display to let older generations know what happened.”

How many of these things have been buried in gardens and never found? It was an accident, I found these in a garden. All these things happen for a reason.

“We can put this on display and say that’s the life of somebody who tried to do something for their country in one way or the other.”

Read: The most inappropriate 1916-themed cake has been spotted in Dublin>

Read: Dublin City Council is standing by its controversial 1916 banner>

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